Wednesday, April 15, 2009

We Find the Body Difficult to Speak

It's poetry month, which is sort of like saying it's breathing week, but oh well. You see, I once thought I was a poet, but then decided two very important things: 1) I'd rather be happy than be a poet, 2) you can only write "language is a tool that fails us" poems for so long before you have to at least convince yourself. But poetry is everywhere, so it's one reason I don't have to write it, that it's pretentious for me to try to. Language is lovely--we're the ones who play hard to get. Still, today at a poetry reading by three fine poets (thanks, Bob, for getting me to go), I felt a bit of the old tug. So figured, hell, why not--I'll post my last poem. Bet you can guesss for whom and when I wrote it and everything.

ITALIAN LESSONS FOR THE TUGBOAT CAPTAIN

“I don’t want to go to your party
I don’t want to talk to your friends
I don’t want to vote for your president
I just want to be your tugboat captain.”
--Galaxie 500, “Tugboat”


You would think
there are too many
wings for flying.
Cherubim, they are,
but baby bodiless,
just heaven-sent similar
faces, smiles sort of,
and wings, six, each.
Only for an age
before science said science,
let alone a mouthful
like aerodynamics. Faith
just enough to be airborne.
The busy beating of wings
must make the air furious
yet the centered religious
seem serenely at peace.
Even the angels seem
untaxed by their burden
of wing waving work.

Enough of the angels,
this is about you, my....
Enough about art,
this is.... No escape,
and to know the goodness
in that, now a prayer
punctuated by an ellipsis.

Before the tourists
the tower leaned enough
for Galileo, for gravity,
for feathers, for cannonball.
For the Church
to say enough, faith
just is an is. Yet.
So. Even words have a science
we call logic, an architecture
of questions improbably
piled and somehow pretty.
This tower they cannot
close from us, we risk
the wobble and drop,
climb to spy dizzying views,
for love is as much
hypothesis as faith,
a pulling, a falling, a proving.

No yes big enough,
no beauty artful enough,
no enough to be uttered.

May marriage be
the perspective of our love,
all dimensions possible,
all colors crisp, and beauty
off-hand and everyday
and everywhere like air
stirred by angels somehow
untangled in their overdose of wings.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Smitty said...

I've always thought that poetry, like any form of art, is an expression of the person who created it. It really takes a lot of fortitude to bare your inner self to an audience the way an artist does. So for that, thanks for sharing a deep part of you...with us!

5:45 AM  
Anonymous James said...

Thanks for sharing this, George. I really enjoyed reading it.

6:14 AM  
Blogger Queen Whackamole said...

One of us... one of us...

So, you write a poem like that for your wedding then stop writing poems?

Bait and switcher.

3:24 PM  
Blogger Marty said...

Well, since you've given it up, I'm definitely stealing that fabulous last stanza, George. The poem set me up perfectly and that just blew me away. Thank you.

9:35 PM  
Blogger Jacob said...

Where is Jack Spicer?

2:29 PM  

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